George Orwell: Wikimedia Commons

Recently I have been interested in the promotion by William D. Lutz of what he borrowed from George Orwell, DOUBLESPEAK. This involves words whose true significance is not what it seems to be. I have had some fun with my own examples. Here is my list of interpretations.

indefinite detention

gaol without trial


a folly that got you elected

committee meeting

a place where inaction is given the go ahead

big government

government functions not yet privatised

people smugglers

your excuse for indefinite detention

previously loved/enjoyed


level playing field

where nobody notices corporate collusion


a place where you drive past slowcoaches 

with great respect

strongly disagree

I thank the honourable member for the question

I am about to abuse the questioner

lunatic fringe

opponents with policies opposed to yours

border protection

approved chauvinism

listen to the experts

you choose the experts

last resort of fools

policies different from your own

business confidentiality

secret deals

tested by time

unaware of the latest discoveries

clean coal 

truthful lies

robust manufacturing sector

profit before climate

golden opportunity

an improbable outcome

extreme right

wolves in sheep’s clothing

extreme left

sheep in wolves’ clothing

centre party

a group who can’t make up their mind

public relations 

tall-tale influence inducing affluence

economic rationalism

rational ways of making irrational decisions

no such thing as a free lunch

put your money where your mouth is


replacing costly labour with cheap slave labour overseas


letting somebody else make your mistakes

classified information

covering your tracks or hiding your crimes


dismissing staff

red tape

regulations that restrict corporate exploitation or proliferation


personal or party source of funds

checks and balances

cheques and bank balances


a unity that only war or pandemic can achieve

dark horse

a rational, concerned candidate free of party politics

your grass roots

where you fund just before an election (AKA pork barreling)


organised shots of you to foster your false image

spin doctors

highly paid liars who work for you


insight into the future from the oracle

bill of rights

a human rights declaration tyrants prevent from happening

law and order

power to stop dissent

dog whistles

words (whistles) only dogs, racists or gullible voters hear


Using language to distort or even reverse the meaning of unpalatable information that has to be given. Allegedly the amalgam of two George Orwell’s creations from his novel 1984, Doublethink and Newspeak. Source:

2 thoughts on “Doublespeak

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: